The birth of a child is usually met with celebrations and joy. But for more than one million mothers around the world every year, it is a day of mourning.
Save the Children estimates that more than one million children die each year on the day of birth. Another two million children do not survive their first month of life, says the 14thState of the World’s Mothers report.
Released around Mother’s Day every year, the report from Save the Children scores countries on the health and safety of mothers. This year, the index calls attention to child survival in addition to maternal health.
Nearly two-thirds of global newborn deaths occur in ten countries. They include larger nations like Nigeria, India, China and Indonesia as well as nations with high infant mortality rates such as Ethiopia, Afghanistan and Tanzania.
“Saving newborn lives will prevent incalculable suffering. It is also a vital piece of the global development agenda,” says Melinda Gates in the report introduction. “Children surviving and staying healthy means more children in school and able to learn, which in turn means productive adults who can drive sustained economic growth.”
More than one million people are on the run in Syria, and most experts say this massive refugee situation is likely to get much worse before it gets better.
As always, it is often the children who tend to suffer the most.
The crisis in Syria today compares to massive historic tragedies, Iraq in 1991 and Rwanda, 1994, in terms of the number of people displaced. An additional 2 million Syrians are internally displaced. With as many as 8,000 people leaving Syria every day the UN is concerned that the number of refugees may triple by the end of the year.
That means as much as 15% of all Syrians could be refugees by the end of the year.
Several new reports out this week emphasize the harm this crisis is doing to children – a harm that can persist after the crisis passes, which makes responding to it now more urgent than ever. Continue reading →
As the BBC reports, this is not due to lack of food but to rising food prices, nor is it limited to poor countries:
The charity says that children under two are most in need of help because the body and brain are developing fast at that age. Prolonged malnutrition for these children can irreversibly stunt their growth and reduce their IQ by as much as 15 points.
India is home to a third of the world’s malnourished children. Some 43% of them suffer from malnutrition and three out of four are anaemic.
Malnutrition doesn’t just kill, of course. Save the Children estimates lack of food and a proper diet also cause physical and mental disabilities for hundreds of millions of children who survive on poor diets.
Here’s a video about India’s massive child malnutrition problem from Al Jazeera:
Other news stories based on the Save the Children report:
It may be off the headlines now, but the pressure remains on USAID from many prominent NGOs like World Vision, Oxfam and Save the Children to end its requirement of putting the American flag on donated materials.
I wrote about this dispute last week and a USAID official told me talks aimed at resolving this disagreement are “intense.”
A number of charitable and foreign assistance organizations such as World Vision, Save the Children and Oxfam are asking USAID to abandon this self-promotional requirement, the BBC reports.
Many charities say the USAID logo puts their workers in harm’s way — in parts of Pakistan, for example, that are hostile to U.S. policies — and it also undermines their obligation to remain politically neutral. Most say they don’t even put their brand on their own stuff. The following are snippets from the debate: Continue reading →